.. there is a moment in my adult years when I knew I was in trouble. I had crossed the line with experimentation and had exposed myself for what I truly was: once an Evangelical, always an Evangelical. No matter what I did, there was no escaping my past. Not totally, anyway.
I was at The Church in downtown Denver. For anyone not familiar, The Church is a nightclub that holds raves within its former sanctuary. Outside, the formidable stone church complete with steeple, open the red doors and see all the drunk people.
Inside The Church, overhead lighting throws sparkles over the otherwise darkened swarms of bodies twisting and thumping while the altar at the head of the former sanctuary blazes red with candles. Past the sanctuary, into a former common room, a live band plays next to a jam-packed bar. Below that, down in the undercroft, you’ll find even darker music next to an even darker smoking room.
Yeah, so that’s where I was.
At the time, I was involved with a group of friends from a martial arts dojo in which I was training. We did everything together, and by everything I mostly mean every night. There was a core component to the group, with the majority of us girls in our 20s. We were hot and dangerous, or so we thought. I mean, it wasn’t like we thought we were The Charlie’s Angels or anything (yes we did), but we managed to have a good time. Scott was also with us that night, although we did not exactly keep close tabs on each other in those days. He might have wandered up the street and I would have been none the wiser.
The scene down in the undercroft was what you might expect. From the moment you entered the room, you were hit in the face by a Rob Zombie shovel, grabbed by the shoulders and thrown into a gyrating mosh pit on the dance floor. It was dark, and it was glorious.
Of course, I didn’t get it.
Not really, anyway. As an official experience collector who also happens to be making up for lost time, I am usually one step removed from whatever scene I happen to throw myself in. I stood tapping and bee-bopping off the floor for several minutes with friends while we shouted comments at each other only to bend double over our drinks, laughing. When I spotted him, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Or, more accurately, hell.
We all agreed he was cute. Unfortunately, he was dressed in a black cape, had his jet black hair slicked straight back, and took himself entirely too seriously. It was clear, he fancied himself an individual. A loner. He was a on a search for a lack of meaning in life through self-discovery and an aggressive depletion of Vitamin D, and he was skipping-not-dancing, weaving-not-darting throughout the crowd like a dark Sith Lord at a Maypole dance. And I just couldn’t help it.
Giggling wildly, I ran out onto the floor after him. As I got closer, I could see he had a black tear painted on his white powdered cheek. He needed cheering up. I would cheer him up. I worked my way up right behind him and grabbed him at the waist. He jumped and twirled away from me in an attempt at escape, but I was undaunted. He got stuck at a block in the crowd and I began kicking. Right then left. Right then left. Some girl wearing shredded stockings and a scrap of Mylar stuck to her breasts grabbed on to my waist from behind and started copying my moves. The bottleneck loosened and we went skipping after him, kicking as we went. More people joined on. Ten. Twenty. We followed him, this poor distraught soul. If he twirled in an evasive maneuver, we twirled with him. If he shot us a shriveling glare over his shoulder, we would Vogue like the Material Girl in response. We added kicks. Hip thrusts. Whatever it took. We would turn this fallen angel into a risen demon if it took us all night.
Looking back now, I realize my mistake. I was trying to connect with him. Relate with him, although I’m sure he thought we were only mocking him. But mocking was the last thing on my mind. I had seen him looking all sad and death-obsessed and like he was ready to start threatening people with lines from his own bad poetry and all I really wanted to do was to cheer him up. Show him a little fun. Show him that life wasn’t so hard if you worked together as a group. We would hold him up as a community by first relating to him and then expose him to some good old-fashioned goofy fun. And who can resist goofy fun?
Yep. Life skills brought from me to you, courtesy of the high school Youth Group.